Friday, September 30, 2005

UVA Sucks...Go Terps!

I recognize MD doesn't have the greatest squad this year and could easily lose another home game, but even when your team is struggling, you still gotta believe and of course, hate one of your rivals. In preparation for tomorrow's MD/UVA football game, I think it would only be right for me to share the following pictures:

UVA's Loser Mascot

UVA's Trophy Case

And for those so inclined, checkout the REAL Google search result when trying find a UVA Championship.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Your Daughter Has A Pumpkinhead

I did some midweek apple picking yesterday, since the previous 23 pounds were all gone. There weren't many truely tart apples left so I ended up with 29.5 pounds of empire apples. I figure a return trip is in order in 2 weeks when 2 more-pleasing tart varieties are ready for the picking. On the drive-in, I was passing an exiting car and said to my partner in crime, "wow, look at the pumpkin they've got in their back seat." As we got next to the car, I realized my was their redheaded daughter. Her head really looked like a pumpkin because of the shadows. I will now take my foot out of my mouth.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Beltway Backpack Karma

I reckon it's fun and easy to write about annoying drivers around DC. It or rather I essentially imply that I'm a great driver. I am not a great driver, but do think my defensive driving does a decent job of avoiding accidents. This morning, some guy on a crotch rocket (FYI: a very quick sportbike) decided rush hour traffic would be a great time to test out his turning ability. He was going in and out of lanes near me, about 5 miles from the American Legion Bridge.

I let off the gas and let him do his thing. Once he was 2 cars in front of me, I saw him speed around the back left of a tractor trailer, only to then jump right in front of the truck. When I say right in front, I mean he could have touched the front grill. He was in the driver's blindspot for the next 10 seconds before pulling far enough ahead. And yes, he is extremely stupid.

After finally closing my agaped mouth, he was already at least 1/2-mile ahead, but karma was about to get him. No, not in the sweet form of a ticket, but rather, it seems his backpack came flying off during his ride. I can't confirm it was on his back before, but I'm 70% sure he had one on while making his daredevil moves. Plus, I doubt someone's backpack would have made it out of a car in the 1 minute between his passing me and the backpack's arrival. It was still rolling back when I swerved to avoid it and after realizing it hadn't caused any accidents, I laughed knowing his unsafe maneuvers got balanced out in the yin-yang karma driving universe.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Taste of Lexus

On Sunday, I made my way to the Taste of Lexus event at that field where the football team from Washington plays (I can't give them the respect of saying their nickname since I hate them). I went last year and really enjoyed it. The idea is you not only get to drive lots of Lexus models, but that you also experience the Lexus "lifestyle" (read: high income). After checking in at my reserved time, I walked to this open room to see a new hybrid luxury SUV and some other well-waxed Lexus models under shiny lights.

Of course I quickly made multiple trips to the fingerfood (I'm sorry that would be hors d'oeuvres in Lexus Lifestyle Language). Most of them were really good, especially the little cheesecake squares. I still enjoyed last year's food selection better as it had real lunchtime food with large servings, but it is a free event afterall. I tried signing up for a hot stone massage, but was told I couldn't signup for another 2 hours. I came back two hours later and was told the earliest I could get in was 3 (it was already 1) so I passed. That really would have been a sweet deal though. Oh yeah, the portable bathrooms had wood trim and automatic faucets...who knew the Lexus Lifestyle extended to porta-poties.

I test drove 3 sedans while my cohert drove the SC 430 (convertible) and an LS 470 ( SUV). Lexus sure makes a nice car, but I still think KITT and The Rocket would be angry if I ever bought a luxury car. The SUV course was great since they had a ramp that one side of the car drives on to show how far you can tilt. I swear we were going to tilt over my side, but the car survived. I've never been a big SUV fan unless you have lots of equipment that needs lugging around (and gas money). They're too top-heavy for my driving which outweighs the feeling I get inside being so high off the road. As a side story, this one woman gave us a dirty look inside the lexus tent while we were getting food and she and her friend were directly behind us in the SUV line. So, what else did I do but tilt the bottom seat cushion forward and tilt the back cushion pretty far back so she'd have to readjust. Also, I turned the radio all the way up so when they turned it on, it would blast (though I bet a Lexus car does things to reset the volume to a normal level). Call me petty if you will, but I was sick of hearing their comments about the weight and appearance of everyone riding before them. They had it coming.

The convertible looked great, but we drove the white one instead of the navy blue we wanted. I drove the ES330, which was the "worst" car there, and had nobody in line. It let me learn the grand prix course before moving up in class. I then drove the LS430 which was the best ride of the day. Of course, this is as close as I'll get to that sedan for the time being. I'd like to say I tore up the track. Though I didn't hear the tire squeaking I heard with the 330, I swear I smelled some burnt/hot rubber after getting out. I wish they had more than 2 cars from their competitors. Last year, there were a handful of Jaguars, BMWs, and Benzs. Beggers can't be choosers I guess.

There was also a golf instruction station that I passed on b/c I'm a stubborn golfer and like all of us hackers, I didn't want advice I was just going to ignore/forget. There was another race course where some more powerful cars were lined up. The wait was too long for those cars so I just moved on, but I think one of them was a new IS model of which there are only 20 in the world or something special like that. I did drive another course that didn't involve as much speed, but can't recall the model since it wasn't as much fun as the grand prix - so much for being a car guy. A few times there was a live shot with some Lexus representative and host, but they all sucked because most of the driving examples didn't work well (except to show how little a Lexus rolls vs. BMW) and the photog kept using the wrong light filter so each shot was washed out. What else...I was bored in line so I edited their car spec charts and told a representative about their errors...time to freelance?

It was a really fun event that lets you floor (really abuse) cars you won't own for a while and eat delicious food. I hope they bring back the real lunchtime food spread next year and give more time slots to the hot stone massage.

For the rest of my blog that is full of rants, raves, and attempts at humor, its current address is:

Saturday, September 24, 2005

My Best Buy Scarf, Um, I mean Receipt

With a change in my roommate arrangement this weekend, I will lose usage of the apartment's XBox. I played lots of Soul Calibur 2 and Grand Theft Auto 3 and had a few of their saved files on the hard drive. So I ventured to Best Buy and dealt with its awkward parking garage and exit system to 355 to buy an 8 MB memory card. I'll eventually buy my own XBox, but that may not occur until I finish my NHL 95 season, and who knows when that'll occur. I still have to play a little more than half the season.

After looking at electronics I don't have the money for, it was time to buy the memory card. This was pretty uneventful until my credit card was swiped and I got the receipt (which isn't pictured in the blog). After purchasing my one product, I swear the receipt was over a foot long (one blogger said his receipt was 18 inches). I know you want its specific dimensions, but you'll just have to buy a pack of gum and see how long the receipt is for your own research. The receipt contained the store's information, my product and its purchasing transaction (of course), three lines about returning and refunding products (though lots of rules were on the back a few times), and some Best Buy advertisements about their other products.

Maybe the printer's before and after settings were on steroids because of the white space, or maybe Best Buy measures a store's popularity based on the exorbitant amount of receipt paper it uses. I have no other complaints about Best Buy since I'm not a frequent customer (thanks Internet shopping!) and I don't know how the receipt compares to Circuit City's, but come on, it's like an electronic store pissing contest. Whatever the reason, just be aware that while it might be long enough, your Best Buy receipt is not a scarf or shawl.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'm watching my possible death on TV! Lucky me!

After making it through a quick hike along the Potomac yesterday, I came home to feed my empty stomach and take it easy the rest of the night. Well, I made the mistake of actually viewing one of the bogus all-news channels (I mistyped the channel I wanted) and saw an airplane. I really thought nothing of it. Maybe it was the President flying home, or some military official landing at Andrews AFB. Oh silly me, it wasn't something as nice as an expected peaceful event. Nope, the only reason CNN, FNC, MSNBC, or any other news organization would air something live, such as an airplane landing, is when it's an anticipated violent event. An airplane's front landing gear malfunctioned, shortly after taking off from Long Beach Airport, with its front tires turned to the side. Don't worry, the news directors didn't get their wish of a fireball, since it landed safely without any injuries to the 146 passengers and crew.

What good does it serve the public to view an airplane, live, as it gets ready to possibly explode and kill about 150 people in the process? Every TV news executive feels the need to prove how sadistic they are, so if there's a chance that an image will be so horrifying that it will be permanently ingrained in the viewer's mind, well, they had better jump on that chance or else lose their job. This was a Jetblue flight which offers 24 DirecTV channels, meaning the passengers could see their flight on TV, as it circled to dump fuel, and attempt a dangerous landing. What about relatives and friends of the passengers...what could they have been thinking? The airplane's TVs weren't turned off until a few minutes before landing. I'm still not sure if they should have been turned off earlier. There's a reason you don't see airplane disaster movies on cross-country flights.

But seriously, it must have been an out of body experience to watch your possibly doomed flight make its approach, while talking heads got hot and bothered when asked about what was about to happen. One passenger said he was happy to have a back row seat because a commentator said if the plane crashes, it'll be the front section that would breakoff in a ball of fire. For the record, I quickly changed channels after seeing what every channel was covering. However, I was curious what happened to the plane (not as it was happening though) so I tuned back just as it was landing. Upon which I saw the flames from the landing gear so I quickly went back to what I was watching. It's rare for me to checkout the news channels because I despise them and they're also deleted from my list of channels, so I don't have to worry about coming across them when I'm looking for something to watch.

I know I tuned back to see what happened (notice: after the event occurred) because it is a news event, but not because I wanted to see destruction and death. Was there really a need to see this event live? What about other instant impact events over the last few years that feed the media's (and public's) appetite for shock? Just where and how is the line drawn when determining if some real-reality TV is too hot for TV. Suppose news directors and executive got wind of the events on 9/11 about 15 minutes before their you think they'd go to a live feed and show everyone what was about to occur? The ratings sure would be as great as the event was horrifying. As for me, I'll only lower myself to the all-news channels AFTER an instant impact event occurs.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A $500,000 Water Meter

For over 30 years, bolinas, California, has stopped housing developments by banning new water connections. However, a water meter at a condemned house is up for sale in the upscale town. Before paying for a sewer connection, the land, and a building itself, the water connection is expected to go for a minimum of $500k. That makes for an expensive cup of water, but a really good investment.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Necessity is the mother of invention

I didn't post over the weekend because I went home for some homecooking, familytime, and to of course see the dog. Before getting to the turnpike for the ride home, I filled up (rather someone else did it for me thanks to NJ's full service laws) with some nice $3/gallon gas and decided to wash my windshield. Then, something incredible happened, the windshield squeegee (yes, that's what it looks like in print) didn't have its typically short handle. Oh no, this one was extended, allowing me to reach all the way across the windshield without any trouble. Previously, you could try reaching the other side, but severely risked getting your shirt covered in "cleaning" solution. Otherwise, the short handle created the horrifying task of walking around your car to finish the cleaning - the evil nerve of its inventor! This also created a semi-transparent line where your reach ended when you washed and then squeegeed the glass.

I know we've all had the same dying request when we wash our windows, so it was about time someone finally had the manufacturing means to extend the freakin' handle! If it's just a New Jersey thing, since I haven't seen it down in Maryland, I think we need to pass legislation and make this a Federal, if not international law.

While there will be some State vs. Federal issues, I have faith that if not for us, for the next generation of drivers, our politicians will fight through the red tape and powerful gas station squeegee lobbyist groups, to remove both the fear of getting one's shirt wet and the agony of walking around the car to wash the other side.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Road Rage Accessories

While I have been working full-time for the last few years, I have done my fair share of commuting (since driving to the supermarket and driving to work entail different mindsets) and have been toying around an idea as long as I can remember. My invention, that hasn't been invented yet, would allow you to clearly signal (without telling your fellow driver he or she is #1) some thanks or angst to other drivers. If someone is riding your tail, you'd press a button that would illuminate a sign that says, "Back Off", or "I'm not going to go any faster", or "So, you're saying you want me to go slower?" Conversely, you'd also have a sign that read, "Thanks for letting me over" instead of the boring hand wave (that I use) and isn't always seen if someone has tinted windows. My favorite bumper sticker as of late reads, "Honk if you're Jesus." I know road rage has caused many violent conflicts, so I'm all about the passive (less likely to cause a confrontation) road rage.

Should signs not do it for you, when someone cuts you off, instead of flipping them the bird, your car would have a little mechanism that gives a light tap to the (insert insulting name here) in front of you, that would only be allowed when you're not moving. This solves any problems associated with them not seeing you when you use your middle finger and/or curse them out. (Who am I kidding, with cursing always comes the middle finger.) Sure, this would just increase road rage, necessitating the need for more insulting signs and aggressive "bumpers", but like any good therapist will tell you, we not only need to let our emotions out, but also make sure the people who bring out these emotions know how we're feeling.

The problem is everyone thinks they're better drivers than everyone else. To this end, it is fair to say we've all seen drivers who cut us off when they should've merged a mile earlier, don't use their turn signals, and think any road is a racetrack. Therefore, some drivers just deserve our insults more than others. And to the big SUV that cut me off when it went straight onto Falls Road out of the left turn lane to River Road yesterday, that didn't acknowledge my car despite my honking, cursing, and (passive since I do it under my dashboard) bird flipping, I sure wish my car had one of those new fangled tapping bumpers and a sign that read, "Go #$^%&#% %@!#% with your @#@% and your mother too!" Remember, kids read this blog too, so enjoy the cartoon below. In case the punchline is too small, it says, "I hate cars. I wish I was a #"!!8^$^% sidewalk rather than a road. Cars suck."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Here are my (not worth the wait) Freedom Walk photos

After waking up earlier than I would for work, I made my way to Arlington so I could metro over to the Pentagon and get my Freedom Walk groove on. It was a great drive from Bethesda to Arlington at 6:30 on Sunday morning. I was even able to use my cruise control throughout my time on the beltway and GW Parkway (outside of a few turns that had the audacity to slow me down). You really have to get up early on a weekend to see the beltway or downtown Arlington (below) so empty.

With plenty of water on-hand, the several thousand participants were well hydrated. The walk was only 1.7 miles with no hills of any consequence, but it did get pretty hot out there. I forgot my suntan lotion so I made a makeshift hat you normally see in the's sort of viewable in the shadow picture.

There were lots of security personnel along the route with many undercover "agents" among the crowd to keep things under control (or at least I'd like to think that). It was great seeing those I could tell were in uniform making sure everyone behaved.

At the turn onto the Memorial Bridge, there were lots of black SUVs and Secret Service agents so our group figured it was some high profile person. As it turns out, it was Donald Rumsfeld saying hi the press and taking pictures with any walkers willing to wait their turn. After we got over the bridge, we walked by some protesters on the way to the mall. Having no desire to see Clint Black (and listen to the incredibly loud speakers) we decided to make it a solid walk by returning to Rosslyn over the Roosevelt Bridge. The Freedom Walk was a nice event, as I got a free t-shirt, felt patriotic, and at least took some time out of my day to remember those fighting overseas and those we lost on 9/11. I hope events like the Freedom Walk occur for many years, or else 9/11 will be lose its overwhelming significance in our history (as suggested in this Post article a few days ago) like other somber dates such as Memorial Day and Veteran's Day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Those Who Moved Sure Are Thankful

As I procrastinate my Freedom Walk picture posting....I've been wondering about those people who recently moved to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama a week, month or even a year before Katrina's arrival. What about those people who moved from the area a day, week, or month before the storm? Timing sure is a funny thing.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A slap to the President's head

Just thought you'd like to checkout this AP picture in the Washington Post - it seems like Thad Allen is really winding up to slap the President's head instead of holding up the power line (and no, I'm not trying to do the political blog thing with this post, it's just a funny picture):

Picking Johnny Appleseed's Fruits of Labor

Since I never sleep late on the weekends, even after a late night of dancing on Friday night, I was wide awake by 7:30 on Saturday. While this is annoying, it does let me get things done before the rest of the country wakes up to run their errands, etc. So this Saturday I made my way to my favorite (and only) apple picking locale that is Homestead Farms in Poolesville. There were lots of apples available for picking since most people only think of apple picking when the temperature is below 65 on a regular basis (also known as fall, but that would've been too easy to type). Of course, I beat the rush of cars that arrived around noon and promptly took a nap after it was all done.

When I went to Homestead two years ago, I really fell for (or is that reached for?) their tart Jonathan apples. I definitely got my fair share of Jonathan's this time. After my last visit, I took home about 18 pounds that quickly went once I got home (mostly because they were left in my trunk for too long), so this time I hauled in 23 pounds and have learned my lesson! I paid about $18 for them ($0.99/lb up to 20 lbs and $0.79/lb after 20 lbs). The farm still had its corn maze, but I wasn't in the mood to get lost when I all I wanted was to get home and start eating what I harvested.

The farm offers lots of other fresh fruits and vegetables, but ya can't go wrong with their apples. I enjoyed the picking (if that's the right way to say it) since I could grab a few apples out of the reach of the average picker and got some larger ones. As long you take care of the pesticide, the apples will taste better than anything at your supermarket. So make your way out River Road, past the large houses on their incredibly large properties, and get some apples before I come back for another 23 pounds.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I'm Walking the Freedom Walk

Amid a rather lowkey weekend for me, I'll be participating in the Freedom Walk on Sunday. It's the least I can do to show support for the troops and honor the victims of 9/11, but not the war itself. While there has been some talk that it's a way for the government to link the basis for the war in Iraq with 9/11, I don't see it that way. Is it that hard to see the event as a mutually-exclusive walk for the troops and a walk to remember the victims? Critics will critique with their biases, but it doesn't matter to me because I know why I'm walking.

As far as complaints about the fenced off route, etc., this really isn't an event that you'd want random people walking in. It would be impossible to organize an event like this with open-ended registration. What happens if you get 10,000 more people than you expected? Yeah that's right, the event would be overwhelmed. Heck, you even have to register for your local 5k to avoid a logjam of participants. However, I don't understand why the media is limited to 3 areas. In that light, if you're lucky, I'll remember to bring my camera and eventually upload the pics to the blog. For some more information about the walk, checkout this article in the Washington Post.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

A Day At The Maryland State Fair

Learning that there's nothing going on in DC over Labor Day weekend, I looked to the "Free State" for any sort of activity. I could have played ultimate, but I wasn't in the mood to break a sweat (which just means I felt lazy). I looked online and found out the Maryland State Fair was happening in Timonium. I've wanted to do the state fair thing for a few years and this looked like a perfect opportunity. After making a traffic-free drive north and grabbing a bite to eat at a nearby supermarket, it was time to pay our $6 to see animals, ride all-too-rickety rides, and eat fried twinkies. All in a day's work.

Wow were there a lot of farm animals at the fair. We saw horses, llamas, goats, donkeys, roosters, pigs, cows, bulls, sheep, and two dogs. Of course, having all of those animals means a whole lot of, um, manure if you will. There was this one building that was used to show the animals for prizes and some auctions and I swear, you could definitely tell which ones were nervous right before they were in the spotlight. It was a show before they were even shown. It must be nice being able to do your "business" anywhere you want and have someone else clean it up. Nevertheless, it was incredible how large some of these animals really are. From the bulls and cows, to the enormous Budweiser clydesdales (I wonder if the beer makes them taller), some of these animals really were strong and powerful beasts and something to see - which I did.

We had a chance to milk a cow, but I was just fine drinking my milk and not seeing the "action" needed to get the milk out of the cow and into my fine Lactaid milk carton. I heard some younger calves mooing a whole lot, but other than that, they were pretty boring. Then again, I'm not sure what I expected them to do at the fair than moo, eat, and get milked.

The goats weren't too interesting except for this one that kept eating at its caretaker's shirt and wrist, as a girl looks on as puzzled as me.

Since Maryland really is a farming and agricultural state, there were lots of farming equipment for show and sale, and just to prove I'm not making that up, here's a picture.

Once you get past the farming equipment, animals, and all of their smells, I got to the part of the fair that I only see in my local New Jersey carnivals - all of the funnel cakes, sausages, unsafe looking rides, and midway games designed to make you a big loser. A "southern" state fair really is no different than a tri-state area carnival/fair except for the inclusion of animals and farming equipment. After that, you can find the same sketchy ride operators, with rides you know haven't been inspected in a few years ever since "the incident", as well as food offerings like funnel cakes, fried twinkies, and sausages on some makeshift frier/griller that probably isn't the most sanitary. Well, despite all of this, carnivals and fairs are lots of fun and haven't caused me any indigestion, "but you don't have to take my word for it." (thanks Lavar Burton!)

Back when I was a young lad in NJ, the "scariest" rides at my town's small carnival were the gravitron (makes you feel lots of g-force by spinning fast) and the salt and pepper shakers (a long arm swung your cage in a big loop). Sure it was a small event, but compared to Maryland, those rides were for wimps. The Maryland state fair not only had those rides, but it also had a hangliding ride that would make anyone vomit, another ride that had you in a rollercoaster seat that only went in a loop - both forward and backward about 5 times, and a few rides that went up and down while spinning. I only went on the ferris wheel since I didn't want to lose my lunch and wanted a clean shirt for the ride home. It gave a great view of the park and was well worth the 5 tickets. By the way, if you're over 5' tall, don't ride the "haunted house" ride. While it was a scary ride for me since I was worried about my safety and lack of legroom, it was just a ride in the dark, and if ya think about it , a ride can't be that scary if it fits in a small tractor trailer.

Besides rides, I played and lost one midway game where you had to shoot some water into a hole and raise your balloon in a race. I also placed my first horse racing bet...$2 on indigo dream to win. Unfortunately, the horse placed, and of course if I bet that I would have walked away with $84 from a $2 bet. I hit every sample food stand from potato chips, to fruit soda, to grilled steak (multiple times in fact) (by the way, it was a little odd eating steak with live cows a few yards away, but I got over that worry really fast), to spring water, to bread, and even salad dressings. At one point I needed something to cool me down and after much searching, I finally found a snoball stand (how could you have a Maryland state fair without a snoball stand?) and asked for my dad's favorite, root beer with extra flavor, but the guy didn't have any so I walked away disgusted. I eventually drowned that disappointment by trying a fried twinkie that was surprisingly delicious. Trust me, I was apprehensive as well, but the frying vaporized the cream inside and made for a nice treat with powdered sugar and strawberry sauce. However, you're on your own if you try the fried oreos, and yes, those are my pearly whites below.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Beware: False Katrina Video Links - AOL

I was sent two two emails with the same message, but from different AOL users. It read:

Hi, My name is Sara and I'm a current resident in Jackson, MS. I would just like to show you the video of hurricane katrinas damage through my area. Please share this with your friends and let them see the real disaster that TV won't show you.

While this might seem harmless, the link at the end finishes with ".exe" which is an executable program. This means you shouldn't click such links (or any other email links) concerning Katrina because they'll most likely mess up your computer. Also, the AOL account the program is linked to was different from the person sending it. Plus, no video is worth watching when it has a good chance of harming your files. And if you needed anymore reasons, the emails are missing an apostrophe in "katrinas".

It's really sad that someone wants to use the Katrina disaster to spread a computer virus/worm, so be warned.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A real "ya had to be there" story

I was at Target yesterday to get some assorted household items. After I bought my handsoap I went to another department and suddenly, I began swearing over and over again, then some other guys started swearing too. No, we weren't angry at anyone, we were just following the directions of the department's that's what we did.

Get it? Anyone? Hello?

Ok, so it's not as funny as when I made the joke that afternoon and yes, I'm really just buying time until I upload pictures from Sunday's visit to the Maryland State Fair so be kind to me.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Capital Crescent Trail and Elitism

This weekend, I got up (sort of) early and hit the Capital Crescent Trail that runs from downtown Bethesda to Georgetown. It was the maiden voyage for my mountain bike and I on a real trail and a legit trip. Though I wanted to get there closer to 7:30, I didn't make it to the trail until 9:40. My worry of having to deal with lots of people at that time came true, but you'll be happy to know I did not get into any accidents. The trail is about 7 miles each way with the first half a nice downhill ride, and of course a much tougher uphill ride to get home.

As my first trail ride in who knows how many years (okay, about 4 years, 3 months, and 19 days, or something like that), it went really well. From the start, it's clear this trail is enjoyed by families and little kids. Sure there are people who look the part of hardcore riders and runners, but more people are on their training wheels and running with their strollers. Nevermind though, it's a paved trail that is shaded almost the entire way with some water fountains (but no restrooms). I'd imagine the serious users made their roundtrip by 8.

I hopped on my bike and quickly learned a successful ride on the trail depends on your ability to weave between runners and slower riders. Fortunately, as I got further from Bethesda, the crowds thinned out and soon, just us (I gotta give myself some credit) serious riders and runners were on our own. I got the weaving down really well after a few passes. If it was going to be close, I'd yell "passing on the left," (since I haven't bought a silly bell) or else I'd just cross into the other lane and back over without any trouble. Of course, I played it safe a few times and slowed down until there was a safer opening, but many of those times would've been avoided if the other trail users had some common sense - and of course this creates some trail elitism.

I know the other riders feel they own the trail b/c they're the fastest travelers, but the reality is the trail is to be shared with every traveler, and for the most part it is. However, a few people are just dumb when it comes to the safest way to travel. I don't mind people running with their strollers, or even a double stroller (though it takes up an entire lane), but don't run with two strollers...and your dog on a long leash! I quickly came up on this group and made sure they heard me approach, but you shouldn't travel so wide that you go halfway into the other lane. Outside of a large group of people stopped in their lane when a safe break area is a few feet away, I got bothered by rollerbladers. They still think they're so "extreme man" so they try to take turns with lots of speed and reckless abandon. Well you're not extreme, you're not cool, and nobody likes you. Phew, that felt good. Their problem is a full roller blading stride is very wide and crosses into oncoming trail traffic. They're also going fast and if their stride isn't timed/placed just right to miss my bike's wheel or a runner's foot, there'll be a bad accident (esp. those rollerskating folk who don't have helmets, etc)..

The ride to Georgetown was a breeze thanks to its downhill topography, I rode in the 3rd cog and 8th gear (highest setting) most of the way. I went about a 1/2 mile or so past the Key Bridge in 30 minutes. If I really push myself, I could do better, but much of it depends on how slow I have to go around other trailgoers. The ride back is a nice uphill trip that quickly made me enjoy the ease of the trip to Georgetown. It took me an extra 10-15 minutes to make it to Bethesda and kept me in the 3rd cog and 5th gear except for a some small steep ramps to bridges.

The trail was a great introduction to riding and is a nice hour or so workout that's right down the road. Its shade, paved path, and incredible quietness for the area earn it high marks. To have such an unbalanced ride (all downhill then all uphill) and busy trail isn't that great, but it does provide a good workout for someone like me, though it wouldn't be worth your time if you're actually in riding shape and used to "real" bike trails.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Thin House That Needs A Thick Wallet

A house is for sale in London for almost one million dollars. It's in a fancy part of town so the price isn't that out of whack, except when you consider parts of it are only 5 feet wide. This is like Disney's Smallworld attraction.

Though this place will definitely make you feel bigger about your, um, "size", it is a bit claustrophobic.

All five floors are linked with a spiral staircase that makes moving in a real challenge.